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Full text of "Hydriotaphia : urne-buriall, or a discourse of the sepulchrall urnes lately found in Norfolk"

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This edition of the Hydriotaphia repro- 
duces the text ofthejirst edition printed in 
1658. Several errors which have crept into 
later issues have thus been rectified. The 
archaic spelling ofthejirst edition has been 
retained savejbr a few deviations toward 
uniformity. The erratic punctuation of 
the original issue has been slightly modi- 
fied^ though due regard has been paid to 
^rowne^ s peculiar use of the semicolon. 


Worthy and Honoured Friend 


of Crostwick, Esquire 

WHEN" the Funeral pyre was out, and the last 
valediction over, men took a lasting adieu of their 
interred Friends, little expecting the curiosity of 
future ages should comment upon their ashes, and having no 
old experience of the duration of their Reliques, held no opinion 
of such after-considerations. 

But who knows the fate of his hones y or how often he is to 
he buried f who hath the Oracle of his ashes, or whether they 
are to he scattered? The Reliques of many lie like the mines of 
Fompey's,* in all parts of the earth ; and when they arrive at 
your hands, these may seem to have wandered farre, who in a 
direct -^ and Meridian Travell, have hut few miles of known 
Earth between your selfe and the Pole. 

That the bones of Theseus should be seen again ;[ in Athens, 
was not beyond conjecture, and hopeful expectation ; but that 
these should arise so opportunely to serve your self , was an hit 
of fate and honour beyond prediction. 

We cannot but wish these Umes might have the effect of 

'^Pompeios juvenes 
Asia, atque Europa, 
sed ipsum terra tegit 

^Little directly, but 
Sea between your house 
and Greenland. 

\Br ought back by Ci- 
mon. Plutarch. 



^The great JJrnes in 
the Hippodrome at 
Rome conceived to re- 
sound the voices of peo- 
ple at their shows. 

•j- Worthily possessed by 
that true Gentleman 
Sir Horatio Townshend 
my honoured Friend. 

\Abiit ad plures. 

§ Which makes the 
world so many years old. 

theatrical vessels, and great Hippodrome Umes * in Rome ; 
to resound the acclamations and honour due unto you. But 
these are sad and sepulchral Pitchers, which have no joyful 
voices ; silently expressing old mortality, the ruines oj forgotten 
times, and can only speak with life, how long in this corrupti- 
ble frame, some parts may he uncorrupted ; yet able to out-last 
bones long unborn, and noblest pyle-f among us. 

fVe present not these as any strange sight or spectacle un- 
known to your eyes, who have beheld the best of Umes, and 
noblest variety of Ashes ; who are your self no slender master 
of Antiquities, and can daily command the view of so many 
Imperial faces ; which raiseth your thoughts unto old things, 
and consideration of times before you, when even living men 
were Antiquities ; when the living might exceed the dead, and 
to depart this world, could not be properly said to go unto the 
greater number."^ And so run up your thoughts upon the ancient 
of dayes, the Antiquaries truest object, unto whom the eldest 
parcels are young, and earth it self an Infant ; and without 
Egyptian account § makes but small noise in thousands. 

We were hinted by the occasion, not catched the opportunity 
to write of old things, or intrude upon the Antiquary. We are 
coldly drawn unto discourses of Antiquities, who have scarce 
time before us to comprehend new things, or make out learned 
Jfovelties. But seeing they arose as they lay, almost in silence 
among us, at least in short account suddenly passed over, we 
were very unwilling they should die again, and be buried twice 
among us. 

Beside, to preserve the living, and make the dead to live, to 



* Wherein M. Dugdale 
hath excellently well en- 
deavoured, and worthy 
to be countenanced by 

keep men out oj their UrneSy and discourse oj humane fragments 
in them, is not impertinent unto our profession ; whose study is 
life and death, who daily behold examples of mortality , and 
of all men least need artificial mementos, or coffins by our bed 
side, to minde us of our graves. 

' T is time to observe Occurrences, and let nothing remark- 
able escape us ; The Supinity of elder dayes hath left so much 
in silence y or time hath so martyred the Records, that the most 
industrious * heads dofinde no easie work to erect a new Bri- 

'Tis opportune to look back upon old times y and contemplate 
our Fore-fathers. Great examples grow thin, and to be fetched ^'"g^"''"'^""^""^^^/'^'- 
from the passed world. Simplicity flies away, and iniquity 
comes at long strides upon us. We have enough to do to make 
up our selves from present and passed times, and the whole stage 
of things scarce serveth for our instruction. A compleat peece 
of vertue must be made up from the Centos of all ages, as all 
the beauties of Greece could make but one handsome Venus. 

PFhen the bones of King Arthur were digged up,-f the old fin the time 0/ Henry 
Race might think they beheld therein some Originals of them- 
selves ; unto these of our Urnes none here can pretend relation, 
and can only behold the Reliques of those persons, who in their 
life giving the Laws unto their predecessors, after long obscur- 
ity y now lye at their mercies. But remembering the early civil- 
ity they brought upon these CountreySy and forgetting long 
passed mischief Sy we mercifully preserve their bones y and pisse 
not upon their ashes. 

In the offer of these Antiquities we drive not at ancient 

the second. Camden. 


Families, so long out-lasted by them ; fVe are Jarre from erect- 
ing your worth upon the pillars of your Fore-fathers, whose 
merits you illustrate. We honour your old Virtues, conformable 
unto times before you, which are the JVoblest Armoury. And 
having long experience of your friendly conversation, void of 
empty Formality , full of freedome, constant and Generous Hon- 

*Adamas de rupe ve- esty, I look upon you as a Gemme of the Old Rock,* and must 

teriprastantissimus. pyofesse my Self cv en to Ume and Ashes, 

Tour ever faithful Friend, 

and Servant, 

Thomas Browne. 
Norwich, May 1. 





IN the deep discovery of the Subterranean world, a shal- 
low part would satisfie some enquirers, who, if two or 
three yards were open about the surface, would not 
care to wrack the bowels of ^otosi,* and regions towards *The ruh mountain of 
the Centre. Nature hath furnished one part of the Earth, 
and man another. The treasures of time lie high, in Urnes, 
Coynes, and Monuments, scarce below the roots of some 
vegetables. Time hath endlesse rarities, and showes of all 
varieties ; which reveals old things in heaven, makes new 
discoveries in earth, and even earth it self a discovery. That 
great antiquity (^America lay buried for a thousand years ; 
and a large part of the earth is still in the Urne unto us. 

Though if Q_y4dam were made out of an extract of the 
earth, all parts might challenge a restitution, yet few have 
returned their bones far lower than they might receive 
them, not affecting the graves of Giants under hilly and 
heavy coverings, but content with lesse then their own 
depth, have wished their bones might lie soft, and the earth 
be light upon them. Even such as hope to rise again, would 


not be content with central interment, or so desperately to 
place their refiques as to lie beyond discovery, and in no 
way to be seen again ; which happy contrivance hath made 
communication with our fore-fathers, and left unto our view 
some parts, which they never beheld themselves. 

Though earth hath engrossed the name yet water hath 
proved the smartest grave; which in fourty dayes swal- 
lowed almost mankinde, and the living creation ; fishes not 
wholly escaping, except the salt Ocean were handsomely 
contempered by a mixture of the fresh Element. 

Many have taken voluminous pains to determine the 
state of the soul upon disunion ; but men have been most 
phantastical in the singular contrivances of their corporal 
dissolution : whilest the soberest Nations have rested in 
two wayes, of simple inhumation and burning. 

That carnal interment or burying was of the elder date, 
the old examples o^ay^braham and the Patriarches are suf- 
ficient to illustrate, and were v^thout competition, if it could 
be made out, that a^dam was buried near to Damascus, or 
Mount Calvary, according to some Tradition, God himself 
that buried but one, was pleased to make choice of this way, 
collectible from Scripture-expression, and the hot contest 
between Satan and the Arch- Angel, about discovering the 
body o{ (looses. But the practice of burning was also of great 
Antiquity, and of no slender extent. For (not to derive the 
fame from Hercules) noble descriptions there are hereof in 
the Qrecian Funeral of Homer, in the formal Obsequies of 
^atroclus, and d/fchilles ; and somewhat elder in the Thehan 


war, and solemn combustion of zyideneceuSy and a^rche- 
moruSy contemporary unto Jair the Eighth Judge of Israel. 
Confirmable also among the Trojans, from the Funeral Pyre 
of Hector, burnt before the gates of Troy,* and the burning 
of ^enthesilea the o^mazonian Queen, and long continu- 
ance of that practice in the inward Countries oi(*yIsia; while 
as low as the Reign of Julian,yve finde that the King ofChio- 
nia-f burnt the body of his Son, and interred the ashes in a 
silver Urne. 

The same practice extended also far West,]; and besides 
Herulians, Q-etes, and Thracians, was in use with most of the 
Celtce, Sarmatians, Qermans, Qauls, T>anes, Swedes, 1{orwe- 
gians ; not to omit some use thereof among Carthaginians 
and Qy4mericans : of greater antiquity among the 'Romanes 
then most opinion, or *P/mjv seems to allow. For ( beside the 
old Table Laws of burning § or burying within the City, of 
making the Funeral fire with plained wood, or quenching 
the fire with wine) ^^JManlius the Consul burnt the body of 
his son ; ^I{uma by special clause of his will, was not burnt 
but buried ; And T^emus was solemnly buried, according to 
the description of Ovid. \ \ 

Cornelius Sylla was not the first whose body was burned 
in '^ome, but of the Cornelian Family, which being indiffer- 
ently, not frequently used before, from that time spread 
and became the prevalent practice. Not totally pursued in 
the highest run of Cremation ; For when even crows were 
funerally burnt, Toppaa the wife of l^o found a peculiar 
grave interment. Now as all customs were founded upon 

*^ Calaber, lib. I . 

^Ammianus Marcel- 
linus, Gumbrates King 
of Chionia a Countrey 
near Persia. 

\Jrnold. Montan. not- 
in Cess. Commentar. 
L. L. Gyraldus. Kirk- 

§ I 2 Tabul. part. 1 , de 
jure sacro. Hominem 
mortuum in urbe ne 
sepelito, neve urito, torn. 
2. Rogum ascia ne 
polito. to. 4. Item 
Vigeneri Annotat. in 
Livium, y Alex, cum 
Tiraquello. Roscinus 
cum Dempstero. 

1 1 Ultima prolato subdita 
jiamma rogo. De Fast, 
lib. 4 cum Car. Neapol. 


some bottom of Reason, so there wanted not grounds for 
this, according to several apprehensions of the most rational 
dissolution. Some being of the opinion of Thales, that water 
was the original of all things, thought it most equal to sub- 
mit unto the principle of putrefaction, and conclude in a 
moist relentment. Others conceived it most natural to end 
in fire, as due unto the master principle in the composition, 
according to the doctrine of Heraclitus. And therefore 
heaped up large piles, more actively to waft them toward 
that Element, whereby they also declined a visible degen- 
eration into worms, and left a lasting parcel of their compo- 

Some apprehended a purifying virtue in fire, refining the 
grosser commixture, and firing out the i^thereal particles so 
deeply immersed in it. And such as by tradition or rational 
conjecture held any hint of the final pyre of all things ; or 
that this Element at last must be too hard for all the rest ; 
might conceive most naturally of the fiery dissolution. 
Others pretending no natural grounds, politickly declined 
the malice of enemies upon their buried bodies. Which con- 
sideration led Sylla unto this practice; who having thus 
served the body of(>JMarius, could not but fear a retaliation 
upon his own ; entertained after in the Civil wars, and re- 
vengeful contentions of ^^ome. 

But as many Nations embraced, and many left it indiffer- 
ent, so others too much affected, or strictly declined this 
practice. The Indian Brachmans seemed too great friends 
unto fire, who burnt themselves alive, and thought it the 


noblest way to end their dayes in fire ; according to the ex- 
pression of the Indian, burning himself at ^yithens* in his 
last words upon the pyre unto the amazed spectators, Thus 
I make myself immortal. 

But the Chaldeans, the great Idolaters of fire, abhorred 
the burning of their carcasses, as a pollution of that Deity. 
The Persian a^ldagi declined it upon the like scruple, and 
being only solicitous about their bones, exposed their flesh 
to the prey of Birds and Dogs. And the ^ersees now in 
India, which expose their bodies unto Vultures, and endure 
not so much as feretra or Biers of Wood, the proper Fuell 
of fire, are led on with such niceties. But whether the ancient 
Qermans who buried their dead, held any such fear to 
pollute their Deity of Herthus, or the earth, we have no 
Authentick conjecture. 

The Mgyptians were afraid of fire, not as a Deity, but a 
devouring Element, mercilesly consuming their bodies, and 
leaving too little of them ; and therefore by precious Em- 
balments, depositure in dry earths, or handsome inclosure 
in glasses, contrived the notablest wayes of integral con- 
servation. And from such JEgyptian scruples imbibed by 
Pythagoras, it may be conjectured that 1{uma and the Py- 
thagorical Sect first waved the fiery solution. 

The Scythians who swore by winde and sword, that is, 
by fife and death, were so far from burning their bodies, 
that they declined all interment, and made their graves in 
the air. And the Ichthyophagi or fish-eating Nations about 
Mgypt, affected the Sea for their grave : thereby declining 

^Jfii^ therefore the 
Inscription of his Tomb 
was made accordingly. 
Nic. Damas. 


* Which Magius reads 
■\Diodorus Siculus. 

\Ramustus in Navigat. 

§ Martialii the Bishop. 

visible corruption, and restoring the debt of their bodies. 
Whereas the old Heroes in Homer dreaded nothing more 
than water or drowning ; probably upon the old opinion of 
the fiery substance of the soul, onely extinguishable by that 
Element ; and therefore the Poet emphatically implieth the 
total destruction in this kinde of death, which happened to 
ayljax O ileus * 

The old Balearians-f had a peculiar mode, for they used 
great Urnes and much wood, but no fire in their burials ; 
while they bruised the flesh and bones of the dead, crowded 
them into Urnes, and laid heaps of wood upon them. And 
the Chinese^ without cremation or umal interment of their 
bodies, make use of trees and much burning, while they 
plant a Pine-tree by their grave, and burn great numbers of 
printed draughts of slaves and horses over it, civilly content 
with their companies in effigie, which barbarous Nations 
exact unto reality. 

Christians abhorred this way of obsequies, and though 
they stick not to give their bodies to be burnt in their lives, 
detested that mode after death ; affecting rather a depositure 
than absumption, and properly submitting unto the sentence 
of God, to return not unto ashes but unto dust again, con- 
formable unto the practice of the Patriarches, the interment 
of our Saviour, of *P^^er, Taul, and the ancient Martyrs. And 
so far at last declining promiscuous interment with Pagans, 
that some have suffered Ecclesiastical censures, for making 
no scruple thereof. § 

The aJMusselman believers will never admit this fiery re- 


solution. For they hold a present trial from their black and 
white Angels in the grave ; which they must have made so 
hollow, that they may rise upon their knees. 

The Jewish Nation, though they entertained the old 
way of inhumation, yet sometimes admitted this practice. 
For the men of Jabesh burnt the body of Saul. And by no 
prohibited practice to avoid contagion or pollution, in the 
time of pestilence, burnt the bodies of their friends.* And 
when they burnt not their dead bodies, yet sometimes used 
great burnings near and about them, deducible from the 
expressions concerning Jehoram, Sedechias, and the sump- 
tuous pyre of ^yf 5a ; and were so little averse from Pagan 
burning,-f that the Jews lamenting the death of Ccesar their 
friend, and revenger on Tompey^ frequented the place where 
his body was burnt for many nights together. And as they 
raised noble Monuments and Mausolaeums for their own 
Nation,]; so they were not scrupulous in erecting some for 
others, according to the practice of Daniel^ who left that 
lasting sepulchral pyle in Echbatana, for the aJMedian and 
Persian Kings. § 

But even in times of subjection and hottest use, they con- 
formed not unto the T(omane practice of burning ; whereby 
the prophecy was secured concerning the body of Christ, 
that it should not see corruption, or a bone shall not be 
broken ; which we believe was also providentially prevented, 
from the Soldiers spear and nailes that past by the little 
bones both in his hands and feet : Not of ordinary contriv- 
ance, that it should not corrupt on the crosse, according to 

^Amoi VI lo. 

\ Sue ton. in vita Jul. 

\As that magnificent 
sepulchral Monument 
erected by Simon. Mace. 
/. 13. 
§/caTa(rKei;acr/u,a Sau- 

IJ.a(Tl<l)<; TT(.TTOir]jX.€VOV 

whereof a Jewish 
Priest had always the 
custody unto Josephus 
his dayes. Jos. Antiq. 
Lib. 10. 


the Law of ^omane Crucifixion, or an hair of his head per- 
ish, though observable in Jewish customes, to cut the haires 
of Malefactors. 

Nor in their long co-habitation with the JEgyptians, crept 
into a custome of their exact embalming, wherein deeply 
slashing the muscles, and taking out the braines and entrails, 
they had broken the subject of so entire a Resurrection, nor 
fully answered the types of Enoch, Elijah, or Jonah, which 
yet to prevent or restore, was of equal facility unto that ris- 
ing power, able to break the fasciations and bands of death, 
to get clear out of the Cere-cloth, and a hundred pounds of 
ointment, and out of the Sepulchre before the stone was 
rolled from it. 

But though they embraced not this practice of burn- 
ing, yet entertained they many ceremonies agreeable unto 
^reek and '^mane obsequies. And he that observeth their 
Funeral Feasts, their lamentations at the grave, their musick 
and weeping mourners ; how they closed the eyes of their 
friends, how they washed, anointed, and kissed the dead ; 
may easily conclude these were not mere Pagan-Civilities. 
But whether that mournful burthen, and treble calling out 
after (^/Tbsalom, had any reference to the last conclamation, 
and triple valediction, used by other nations, we hold but a 
wavering conjecture. 

Civilians make sepulture but of the Law of nations, others 
do naturally found it and discover it also in animals. They 
that are so thick skinned as still to credit the story of the 
Phoenix, may say something for animal burning. More se- 


rious conjectures finde some examples of sepulture in Ele- 
phants, Cranes, the Sepulchral Cells of Pismires and practice 
of Bees ; which civil society carrieth out their dead, and hath 
exequies, if not interments. 


THE Solemnities, Ceremonies, Rites of their crema- 
tion or interment, so solemnly delivered by Au- 
thours, we shall not disparage our Reader to 
repeat. Only the last and lasting part of their Urnes, col- 
lected bones and Ashes, we cannot wholly omit, or decline 
that Subject, which occasion lately presented, in some dis- 
covered among us. 

In a Field of old Walsingham, not many months past, 
were digged up between forty and fifty Urnes, deposited in 
a dry and sandy soile, not a yard deep, not far from one 
another : not all strictly of one figure, but most answering 
these described ; some containing two pounds of bones, dis- 
tinguishable in skulls, ribs, jawes, thigh-bones, and teeth, 
with fresh impressions of their combustion. Besides the ex- 
traneous substances, like pieces of small boxes, or combs 
handsomely wrought, handles of small brasse instruments, 
brazen nippers, and in one some kind of Opale.* */« one sent me by my 

Near the same plot of ground, for about six yards com- 

worthy friend Dr. 
Thomas Whitherley 

passe were digged up coals and incinerated substances, ofWaUmgham. 



which begat conjecture that this was the Ustrina or place 
of burning their bodies, or some sacrificing place unto the 
Manes, which was properly below the surface of the 
ground, as the Arae and Altars unto the gods and Heroes 
above it. 

That these were the Urnes of T(omanes from the com- 
mon custome and place where they were found, is no ob- 
scure conjecture, not far from a ^^^mane Garrison, and but 
five mile from Brancaster, set down by ancient Record 
under the name of Brannodunum. And where the adjoyning 
Town, containing seven Parishes, in no very different sound, 
but Saxon termination, still retaines the Name of Burnham, 
which being an early station, it is not improbable the neigh- 
bour parts were filled with habitations, either of 'Komanes 
themselves, or Brittains Romanised, which observed the 
'^omane customes. 

Nor is it improbable that the T(omanes early possessed 
this Country ; for though we meet not with such strict par- 
ticulars of these parts, before the new Institution of Con- 
stantine, and military charge of the Count of the Saxon 
shore, and that about the Saxon Invasions, the 1)almatian 
Horsemen were in the Garrison of Branchaster, yet in the 
time of Claudius, Vespasian, and Severus, we finde no lesse 
then three Legions dispersed through the Province of Brit- 
tain. And as high as the Reign of Claudius a great over- 
throw was given unto the Iceni, by the '\l^omane Lieutenant 
Ostorius. Not long after the Country was so molested, that 
in hope of a better state Trasutagus bequeathed his King- 



dom unto ISlero and his Daughters ; and Boadicea his Queen 
fought the last decisive Battle with Taulinus. After which 
time and Conquest o^oyTgricola the Lieutenant of Vespasian, 
probable it is they wholly possessed this Countrey, ordering 
it into Garrisons or Habitations, best suitable with their se- 
curities. And so some ^^^omane habitations not improbable in 
these parts, as high as the time of Vespasian, where the 
Saxons after seated, in whose thin-fill'd Mappes we yet 
finde the Name of fValsingham. Now if the Iceni were but 
Cf-ammadims, (^Anconians, or men that lived in an Angle 
wedge or Elbow of Brittain, according to the Original Ety- 
mologic, this countrey will challenge the Emphatical appel- 
lation, as most properly making the Elbow or Iken of 

That Brittain was notably populous is undeniable, from 
that expression of Caesar.* That the '^^omanes themselves 
were early in no small numbers. Seventy Thousand with 
their associates slain by Boadicea, affords a sure account. 
And though many '\^omane habitations are now known, yet 
some by old works, Rampiers, Coynes, and Umes do testifie 
their possessions. Some Urnes have been found at Castor, 
some also about South-creeke and not many years past, no 
lesse then ten in a field at Buxtone,-^ not nere any recorded 
Garrison. Nor is it strange to finde '^^omane Coynes of Cop- 
per and Silver among us ; of Vespasian, Trajan, (^Adrian, 
Commodus, oytntoninus, Severus, &c. But the greater num- 
ber of 'Dioclesian, Constantine, Constans, Valens, with many 
of Victorinus Tosthumius, Tetricus, and the thirty Tyrants 

\Hominum infinita 
multitudo est, creberri- 
maque ; adificia fere 
Gallic is consimilia. Bella Gal. I. 'y. 

\In the ground of my 
worthy Friend Rob. 
Jegon Esq. wherein 
some things contained 
were preserved by the 
most worthy Sir Wil- 
liam Paston Bt. 



^From Castor to Thet- 
ford the Romans ac- 
counted thirty two miles, 
and from thence ob- 
served not our common 
road to London, but 
passed by Combretonium 
ad Ansam, Canonium, 
Ctesaromagus, i^c. by 
Chelmesford, Burnt- 
wood, tsfr. 

■j- Most at Castor by Yar- 
mouth, found in a place 
called East-bloudyburgh 
Furlong, belonging to 
Mr. Thomas Wood, a 
person of civility, indus- 
try and knowledge in this 
way, who hath made ob- 
servation of remarkable 
things about him, and 
from whom we have 
received divers Silver 
and Copper Coynes. 
'I Belonging to that No- 
ble Gentleman, and true 
example of worth Sir 
Ralph Hare Baronet, 
my honoured Friend. 
§ Apiece of Maud the 
Empresse said to be 
found in Buckenham 
Castle with this in- 
scription, Elle n^a elle. 
\\At Thorpe. 
^Brampton Abbas 

in the Reigne of Qallienus ; and some as high as ay^drianus 
have been found about Thetford, or SitomaguSy mentioned in 
the itinerary oi (iy4ntoninus, as the way from Venta or Cas- 
tor unto London."* But the most frequent discovery is made 
at the two Castors by ^I{orwich and Tarmouth,-f at Burgh- 
castle and Brancaster.\ 

Besides, the l}(opnan, Saxon and Danish pieces of Cuth- 
redy Canutus, JVilliam, dyMatilda,^ and others, some Brittish 
Coynes of gold have been dispersedly found ; and no small 
number of silver pieces neer|| ^^{orwich with a rude head 
upon the obverse, and an ill-formed horse on the reverse, 
with inscriptions Ic. 'Duro T. whether implying Iceniy T)uro- 
rigeSy Tascia, or TrinohanteSy we leave to higher conjecture. 
Vulgar Chronology will have l}{orwich Castle as old as Julius 
Casar; but his distance from these parts, and its Q-othick 
form of structure, abridgeth such Antiquity. The Brittish 
Coynes afford conjecture of early habitation in these parts, 
though the city of ISorwich arose from the ruines of Venta, 
and though perhaps not v^thout some habitation before, was 
enlarged, builded, and nominated by the Saxons. In what 
bulk or populosity it stood in the old East-angle Monarchy, 
tradition and history are silent. Considerable it was in the 
Danish Eruptions, when Sueno burnt Thetford and lS(or- 
wich,^ and Ulfketel the Governour thereof was able to 
make some resistance, and after endeavoured to burn the 
Danish Navy. 

How the '^^omanes left so many Coynes in countries of 
their Conquests, seemes of hard resolution, except we con- 

Urne-Buriall 13 

sider how they buried them under ground, when upon bar- 
barous invasions they were fain to desert their habitations 
in most part of their Empire, and the strictnesse of their 
laws forbidding to transfer them to any other uses ; wherein 
the Spartans* were singular, who to make their copper *piut. in vita Lycurg. 
money uselesse, contempered it with vinegar. That the Brit- 
tains left any, some wonder; since their money was iron, 
and iron rings before Ccesar; and those of after-stamp by 
permission, and but small in bulk and bignesse ; that so few 
of the Saxons remain, because overcome by succeeding 
Conquerors upon the place, their coynes by degrees passed 
into other stamps, and the marks of after ages. 

Than the time of these Urnes deposited, or precise An- 
tiquity of these Reliques, nothing of more uncertainty. For 
since the Lieutenant of Claudius seems to have made the first 
progresse into these parts, since Boadicea was overthrown 
by the forces of '\^^o, and a/Igricola put a full end to these 
Conquests, it is not probable the Countrey was fully gar- 
risoned or planted before; and therefore however these 
Urnes might be of later date, not likely of higher Anti- 

And the succeeding Emperours desisted not from their 
Conquests in these and other parts ; as testified by history 
and medal inscription yet extant. The Province of Brittain 
in so divided a distance from Rome, beholding the faces of 
many imperial persons, and in large account no fewer then 
Ccesar^ Claudius, Britannicus, Vespasian, Titus, ^yldrian, 
Severus, Commodus, Q-eta, and Caracalla. 



A great obscurity herein, because no medal or Emper- 
our's coyne enclosed, which might denote the dates of their 
interments ; observable in many Urnes, and found in those 
*Stowe's Survey of Lon. of Spittle Fields by London,* which contained the coynes of 
Claudius, Vespasian, Commodus, oyTntoninus, attended with 
Lacrymatories, Lamps, Bottles of Liquor, and other appurt- 
enances of affectionate superstition, which in these rural in- 
terments were wanting. 

Some uncertainty there is from the period or term of 
burning, or the cessation of that practice. i^JMacrobius af- 
firmeth it was disused in his dayes. But most agree, though 
without authentick record, that it ceased with the o^ntonini. 
Most safely to be understood after the Reigne of those Em- 
perours, which assumed the name o^(*ylntoninus, extending 
unto Heliogabalus. Not strictly 3.fter aJMarcus; for about fifty 
years later we finde the magnificent burning and consecra- 
tion of Severus ; and if we so fix this period or cessation, 
these Urnes will challenge above thirteen hundred years. 

But whether this practice was onely then left by Emper- 
ours and great persons, or generally about '^omey and not 
in other Provinces, we hold no authentick account. For after 
Tertullian, in the dayes of zJMinucius it was obviously ob- 
jected upon Christians, that they condemned the practice of 
burning.-f And we find a passage in SidoniusX which assert- 
eth that practice in France unto a lower account. And per- 
haps not fully disused till Christianity fully established, which 
gave the final extinction to these Sepulchral Bonefires. 

Whether they were the bones of men or women or child- 

^Execrantur rogos, et 
damnant ignium sepul- 
turam. Min. in Oct. 

\Sidon. Apollinaris. 



ren, no authentick decision from ancient custome in distinct 
places of burial. Although not improbably conjectured, that 
the double Sepulture or burying place of aylhraham, had 
in it such intention. But from exility of bones, thinness of 
skulls, smallness of teeth, ribbes, and thigh-bones, not im- 
probable that many thereof were persons of minor age, or 
women. Confirmable also from things contained in them : 
in most were found substances resembling Combes, Plates 
like Boxes, fastened with Iron pins, and handsomely over- 
wrought like the necks or Bridges of Musical Instruments, 
long brass plates overwrought like the handles of neat im- 
plements, brazen nippers to pull away hair, and in one a 
kinde of Opale yet maintaining a blewish colour. 

Now that they accustomed to burn or bury with them, 
things wherein they excelled, delighted, or which were dear 
unto them, either as farewells unto all pleasure, or vain ap- 
prehension that they might use them in the other world, is 
testified by all Antiquity. Observable from the Gemme or 
Beril Ring upon the finger of Cynthia, the Mistress of ^ro- 
pertius, when after her Funeral Pyre her Ghost appeared 
unto him. And notably illustrated from the Contents of that 
'^^omane Urne preserved by Cardinal Farnese,* wherein be- 
sides great number of Gemmes with heads of Gods and 
Goddesses, were found an Ape of Agath, a Grashopper, 
an Elephant of Ambre, a Crystal Ball, three glasses, two 
Spoons, and six Nuts of Crystal. And beyond the content 
of Urnes, in the Monument of Childrick the first,'f and 
fourth King from Tharamond, casually discovered three 

"^Vigeneri Annot, in 4. 

f Chijlet in Anast. 

16 Hydriotaphia 

years past at Tournay, restoring unto the world much gold 
richly adorning his Sword, two hundred Rubies, many hun- 
dred Imperial Coynes, three hundred Golden Bees, the 
bones and horseshoe of his horse interred with him ac- 
cording to the barbarous magnificence of those dayes in 
their sepulchral Obsequies. Although if we steer by the 
conjecture of many and Septuagint expression, some trace 
thereof may be found even with the ancient Hebrews, not 
onely from the Sepulcral treasure oi^avid, but the circum- 
cision knives which Joshua also buried. 

Some men considering the contents of these Umes, last- 
ing pieces and toyes included in them, and the custome of 
burning with many other Nations, might somewhat doubt 
whether all Urnes found among us were properly ^^^omane 
Reliques, or some not belonging unto our Brittish, Saxon , 
or 'Danish Forefathers. 

In the form of Burial among the ancient Brittains, the 
large Discourses of Ccesar, Tacitus y and Straho are silent : 
for the discovery whereof, with other particulars, we much 
deplore the loss of that Letter which Cicero expected or re- 
ceived from his Brother QuintuSy as a resolution of Brittish 
customes ; or the account which might have been made by 
Scrihonius Largus the Physician, accompanying the Em- 
perour Claudius, who might have also discovered that frugal 

^Dionisexcerptaper Bit* of the old Brittains, which in the bigness of a Bean 

Xiphiiin, in Severe. could satisfic their thirst and hunger. 

But that the Druids and ruling Priests used to burn and 
bury, is expressed by ^omponius ; that Bellinus the Brother 

Urne-Buriall 17 

o^Brennus y?ir\di King ofBrittains was burnt, is acknowledged 
by TolydoruSy as also by oy^mandus Zierexensis in Historia, 
and Pineda in his Universa Historia ( Spanish ) . That they 
held that practice in Qalliay Ccesar expressly delivereth. 
Whether the Brittains (probably descended from them, of 
like Religion, Language and Manners ) did not sometimes 
make use of burning ; or whether at least such as were after 
civilized unto the l^omane life and manners conformed not 
unto this practice, we have no historical assertion or denial. 
But since from the account of Tacitus the ^^omanes early 
wrought so much civility upon the Brittish stock, that they 
brought them to build Temples, to wear the Gown, and 
study the '^^omane Laws and Language, that they conformed 
also unto their Religious rites and customes in burials, seems 
no improbable conjecture. 

That burning the dead was used in Sarmatia, is affirmed 
by 0-agumus, that the Sueons and Q-othlanders used to burn 
their Princes and great persons, is delivered by Saxo and 
Olaus; that this was the old germane practice, is also as- 
serted by Tacitus. And though we are bare in historical par- 
ticulars of such obsequies in this Island, or that the Saxons, 
Jutes, and oyTngles burnt their dead, yet came they from 
parts where 'twas of ancient practice; the Qermanes using 
it, from whom they were descended. And even in Jutland 
and Sleswick in o^nglia Cymhrica, Urnes with bodies were 
found not many years before us. 

But the Danish and Northern Nations have raised an Aera 
or point of compute from their Custome of burning their 



*Roisold, Brendetyde. 
lid tyde. 

fO/ai Wormii Monu- 
menta et Antiquitat. 

dead:* Some deriving it from UnguinuSy some from Frotho 
the great ; who ordained by Law, that Princes and Chief 
Commanders should be committed unto the fire, though the 
common sort had the common grave interment. So Stark- 
atterus that old Heroe was burnt, and ^^ingo royally burnt 
the body of Harold the King slain by him. 

What time this custome generally expired in that Nation, 
we discern no assured period ; whether it ceased before 
Christianity, or upon their Conversion, by (tAusgurius the 
Qaul in the time of Ludovicus Tins the Son of Charles the 
Great, according to good computes ; or whether it might 
not be used by some persons, while for a hundred and eighty 
years Paganisme and Christianity were promiscuously 
embraced among them, there is no assured conclusion. 
About which times the Thanes were busie in England, and 
particularly infested this Countrey : where many Castles 
and strong holds were built by them, or against them, and 
a great number of names and Families still derived from 
them. But since this custome was probably disused before 
their Invasion or Conquest, and the '^^omanes confessedly 
practiced the same, since their possession of this Island, the 
most assured account will fall upon the '\Romanes, or Brit- 
tains Romanised, 

However, certain it is that Urnes conceived of no '^Oj 
mane Original, are often digged up both in ^I{orway and 
'Denmark, handsomely described, and graphically repre- 
sented by the Learned Physician Wormiusi-^ and in some 
parts of "Denmark in no ordinary number, as stands deliv- 



ered by Authors exactly describing those Countreys. And* 
they contained not onely bones, but many other substances 
in them, as Knives, pieces of Iron, Brass and Wood, and one 
of ISlorway a brass guilded Jewes harp. 

Nor were they confused or careless in disposing the no- 
blest sort, while they placed large stones in circle about the 
Urnes, or bodies which they interred ; somewhat answer- 
able unto the Monument of *3^/nV/z stones in England,-^ or 
sepulcral Monument probably erected by '^ollo, who after 
conquered ^lS[ormandy ; where 't is not improbable some- 
what might be discovered. Mean while to what Nation or 
person belonged that large Urne found at (i/4shhuryyX con- 
taining mighty bones, and a Buckler; what those large 
Urnes found at little zJ/kfassingham,^ or why the ^Anglesea 
Urnes are placed with their mouths downward, remains yet 

\Adolphus Cyprius in 
Annal. Sleswic. urnis 
adeo abundabat collis. 

fin Oxfordshire, 

\ln Cheshire, Twinus 
de rebus Albionicis. 

%In 'Norfolk, Hollings- 


PLAYSTERED and whited Sepulchres were an- 
ciently affected in cadaverous and corruptive Burials; 
and the rigid Jews were wont to garnish the Sepul- 
chres of the righteous. 1 1 Ulysses in Hecuba^ cared not how 
meanly he lived, so he might finde a nobleTomb after death. 
Great Princes affected great Monuments, and the fair and 
larger Urnes contained no vulgar ashes, which makes that 

\\Mat, xxiii. 


20 Hydriotaphia 

disparity in those which time discovereth among us. The 
present Urnes were not of one capacity, the largest con- 
taining above a gallon, some not much above half that 
measure ; nor all of one figure, wherein there is no strict 
conformity, in the same or different Countreys; observ- 
able from those represented by Casalius, Bosio, and others, 
though all found in Italy ; while many have handles, ears, 
and long necks, but most imitate a circular figure, in a 
spherical and round composure ; whether from any mys- 
tery, best duration or capacity, were but a conjecture. But 
the common form with necks was a proper figure, making 
our last bed like our first; nor much unlike the Urnes of our 
*Psa. ixiii. Nativity, while we lay in the nether part of the earth,* and 

inward vault of our Microcosme. Many Urnes are red, 
these but of a black colour, somewhat smooth, and dully 
sounding, which begat some doubt, whether they were 
burnt, or onely baked in Oven or Sun, according to the an- 
cient way, in many Bricks, Tiles, Pots, and testaceous works; 
and as the word testa is properly to be taken, when occur- 
ring without addition, and chiefly intended by Tliny, when 
he commendeth Bricks and Tiles of two years old, and to 
make them in the spring. Nor onely these concealed pieces, 
but the open magnificence of Antiquity, ran much in the 
Artifice of Clay. Hereof the house of aJMausolus was built, 
thus old Jupiter stood in the Capitol, and the Statua of Her- 
cules made in the Reign of Tarquinius H^riscus, was extant 
in Pliny's dayes. And such as declined burning or Funeral 
Urnes, affected Coffins of Clay, according to the mode of 



Pythagoras, a way preferred by Varro. But the spirit of 
great ones was above these circumscriptions, affecting Cop- 
per, Silver, Gold, and Porphyrie Urnes, wherein Severus 
lay, after a serious view and sentence on that which should 
contain him.* Some of these Urnes were thought to have *xwo"«s tw av^po)- 

, Ml r IT* 1 ^ '^1 irov, ov 7] olKovu.o'-n ovK 

been silvered over, from sparkiings in several pots, with , / ^^.^^ 
small Tinsel parcels ; uncertain whether from the earth, or 
the first mixture in them. 

Among these Urnes we could obtain no good account of 
their coverings ; onely one seemed arched over with some 
kinde of brickwork. Of those found at Buxton some were 
covered with flints, some in other parts with Tiles, those 
at Yarmouth Caster were closed with '^K^ane bricks. And 
some have proper earthen covers adapted and fitted to them. 
But in the Homerical Urne of *Tatroclus, whatever was the 
sohd Tegument, we finde the immediate covering to be a 
purple piece of silk : and such as had no covers might have 
the earth closely pressed into them, after which disposure 
were probably some of these, wherein we found the bones 
and ashes half mortered unto the sand and sides of the Urne; 
and some long roots of Quich, or Dogs-grass wreathed about 
the bones. 

No Lamps, included Liquors, Lachrymatories, or Tear- 
Bottles attended these rural Urnes, either as sacred unto the 
Manes, or passionate expressions of their surviving friends. 
While with rich flames and hired tears they solemnized their 
Obsequies, and in the most lamented Monuments made one . ^ , 

^ ■\ Lum lacrymis posu- 

part of their Inscriptions. -f Some finde sepulchral Vessels ere. 




\ About five hundred 
years. Plato. 

\Vinum Opiminianum 
annorum centum. 

§ 1 2 Tabul. I . xi. de 
Jure sacro. Neve au- 
rum adito, ast quoiauro 
dentes vincti erunt, im 
cum tllo sepelire urere, 
sefraude esto. 

\^Plin. I. xvi. Inter 
^Aa a.(ja.-irr\ numerat 


containing liquors, which time hath incrassated into gellies. 
For beside these Lachrymatories, notable Lamps, with Ves- 
sels of Oyles and Aromatical Liquors attended noble Ossua- 
ries. And some yet retaining a Vinosity * and spirit in them, 
which if any have tasted they have far exceeded the Palats 
of Antiquity. Liquors not to be computed by years of an- 
nual Magistrates, but by great conjunctions and the fatal 
periods of Kingdoms.-f The draughts of Consulary date, 
were but crude unto these, and Opimian wine]] but in the 
must unto them. 

In sundry graves and Sepulchres, we meet with Rings, 
Coynes, and Chalices ; ancient frugality was so severe, that 
they allowed no gold to attend the Corps, but onely that 
which served to fasten their teeth. § Whether the Opaline 
stone in this Urne were burnt upon the finger of the dead, 
or cast into the fire by some affectionate friend, it will con- 
sist with either custome. But other incinerable substances 
were found so fresh, that they could feel no singe from fire. 
These upon view were judged to be wood, but sinking in 
water and tried by the fire, we found them to be bone or 
Ivory. In their hardnesse and yellow colour they most re- 
sembled Box, which in old expressions found the Epithete || 
of Eternal, and perhaps in such conservatories might have 
passed uncorrupted. 

That Bay-leaves were found green in the Tomb of S. 
Humbert,^ after an hundred and fifty years, was looked 
upon as miraculous. Remarkable it was unto old Spectators, 
that the Cypresse of the Temple of ^iana, lasted so many 



hundred years : the wood of the Ark and Olive Rod of 
oyTaron were older at the Captivity. But the Cypresse of 
the Ark of ^^{oah, was the greatest vegetable Antiquity, if 
Josephus were not deceived, by some fragments of it in his 
dayes. To omit the Moore-logs, and Firre-trees found un- 
derground in many parts of England ; the undated ruines 
of wdnds, floods or earthquakes ; and which in Flanders still 
shew from what quarter they fell, as generally lying in the 
North-East position.* 

But though we found not these pieces to be wood, accord- 
ing to first apprehension, yet we missed not altogether of 
some woody substance ; for the bones were not so clearly 
picked, but some coals were found amongst them ; a way to 
make wood perpetual, and a fit associate for metal, whereon 
was laid the foundation of the great Ephesian Temple, and 
which were made the lasting tests of old boundaries, and 
landmarks ; whilest we look on these we admire not observ- 
ations of Coals found fresh, after four hundred years. -f In 
a long deserted habitation, ;|; even Egge-shells have been 
found fresh, not tending to corruption. 

In the Monument of King Childerick, the iron Reliques 
were found all rusty and crumbling into pieces. But our 
little iron pins which fastened the ivory works, held well to- 
gether, and lost not their Magnetical quality, though want- 
ing a tenacious moisture for the firmer union of parts, al- 
though it be hardly drawn into fusion, yet that metal soon 
submitteth unto rust and dissolution. In the brazen pieces 
we admired not the duration but the freedom from rust, and 

^Gorop. Becanus in 

\0f Beringuccio nella 

\Jt Elm ham. 



^Sueton. in vita Tib. 
Et in Amphitheatro 
semiustulandum, not. 

ill favour ; upon the hardest attrition, but now exposed unto 
the piercing Atomes of aire, in the space of a few moneths, 
they begin to spot and betray their green entrals. We con- 
ceive not these Urnes to have descended thus naked as they 
appear, or to have entred their graves without the old habit 
of flowers. The Urne of ^hilopcemon was so laden with 
flowers and ribbons, that it afforded no sight of itself. The 
rigid Lycurgus allowed Olive and Myrtle. The oylthenians 
might fairely except against the practice of 'Democritus to 
be buried up in honey, as fearing to embezzle a great com- 
modity of their Country, and the best of that kinde in Europe. 
But^lato seemed too frugally politick, who allowed no larger 
monument then would contain four heroick verses, and de- 
signed the most barren ground for sepulture ; though we 
cannot commend the goodnesse of that sepulchral ground, 
which was set at no higher rate than the mean salary of 
Judas. Though the earth had confounded the ashes of these 
Ossuaries, yet the bones were so smartly burnt, that some 
thin plates of brasse were found half melted among them : 
whereby we apprehended they were not of the meanest car- 
casses, perfunctorily fired as sometimes in military, and com- 
monly in pestilence, burnings ; or after the manner of abject 
corps, hudled forth and carelesly burnt, v^thout the Esqui- 
line Port at ^^^ome ; which was an affront continued upon 
Tiberius, while they but half burnt his body,* and in the Am- 
phitheater, according to the custome in notable Malefactors; 
whereas *iym> seemed not so much to fear his death, as that 
his head should be cut off and his body not burnt entire. 



Some finding many fragments of skulls in these Urnes, 
suspected a mixture of bones ; in none we searched was there 
cause of such conjecture, though sometimes they declined 
not that practice; the ashes of T>omitian* were mingled 
with those of Julia, oi^ylchilles with those of Tatroclus ; all 
Urnes contained not single ashes ; without confused burn- 
ings they affectionately compounded their bones ; passion- 
ately endeavouring to continue their living Unions. And 
when distance of death denied such conjunctions, unsatisfied 
affections conceived some satisfaction to be neighbours in the 
grave, to lye Urne by Urne, and touch but in their names. 
And many were so curious to continue their living relations, 
that they contrived large, and family Urnes, wherein the 
Ashes of their nearest friends and kindred might succes- 
sively be received,-f at least some parcels thereof, while their 
collateral memorials lay in minor vessels about them. 

Antiquity held too light thoughts from Objects of mor- 
tality, while some drew provocatives of mirth from Anato- 
mies,]] and Jugglers shewed tricks with Skeletons; when 
Fiddlers made not so pleasant mirth as Fencers, and men 
could sit v^th quiet stomacks while hanging was played be- 
fore them.§ Old considerations made few mementos by 
skulls and bones upon their monuments. In the Egyptian 
Obelisks and Hieroglyphical figures, it is not easie to meet 
with bones. The sepulchral Lamps speak nothing lesse than 
sepulture ; and in their literal draughts prove often obscene 
and antick pieces : where we finde D. M.|| it is obvious to 
meet with sacrificing pateras, and vessels of libation, upon 

'^Sueton. in vita Domi- 

\See the most learned 
and worthy Mr. M. 
Casaubon upon Anto- 

\Sic erimus cunctiy ^c. 
Ergo dum vivimus 

§'AyciJi'ov Trai^eiv. A 
barbarous pastime at 
Feasts, when men stood 
upon a rolling Globe, 
with their necks in a 
Rope, and a knife in 
their hands, ready to 
cut it when the stone 
was rolled away, where^ 
in if they failed, they 
lost their lives to the 
laughter of their spec- 
tators. Athenaus. 

II Diis manibus. 

26 Hydriotaphia 

*Bosio. old sepulchral monuments. In the Jewish Hypogaeum* and 

subterranean Cell at T(ome, was little observable beside 
the variety of Lamps, and frequent draughts of the holy 
Candlestick. In authentick draughts of^(*yTnthony snid Jerome, 
we meet with thigh-bones and death's heads ; but the cemi- 
teriall Cells of ancient Christians and Martyrs were filled 
with draughts of Scripture Stories ; not declining the flour- 
ishes of Cypresse, Palms, and Olive ; and the mystical Fig- 
ures of Peacocks, Doves and Cocks ; but iterately affecting 
the portraits of Enoch, Lazarus, Jonas, and the vision of 
Ezechiel, as hopeful draughts, and hinting imagery of the 
Resurrection ; which is the life of the grave, and sweetens 
our habitations in the Land of Moles and Pismires. 

Gentile inscriptions precisely delivered the extent of 
men's lives, seldome the manner of their deaths, which his- 
tory itself so often leaves obscure in the records of mem- 
orable persons. There is scarce any Philosopher but dies 
twice or thrice in Laertius ; nor almost any life without two 
or three deaths in Tlutarch ; which makes the tragical ends 
of noble persons more favourably resented by compassion- 
ate Readers, who finde some relief in the Election of such 

The certainty of death is attended with uncertainties, in 
time, manner, places. The variety of Monuments hath often 
obscured true graves: and Caenotaphs confounded Sepul- 
chres. For beside their real Tombs, many have found hon- 
orary and empty sepulchres. The variety of Homer's Mon- 

■\Pauian. in Atticis. uments made him of various Countreys. Euripides-^ had his 



Tomb in ay^frica, but his sepulture in (^Macedonia. And 
Severus* found his real Sepulchre in '^Rome, but his empty 
grave in Qallia. 

He that lay in a golden Urne-f eminently above the earth, 
was not like to finde the quiet of these bones. Many of these 
Urnes were broke by a vulgar discoverer in hope of en- 
closed treasure. The ashes of<iSMarcellusX were lost above 
ground, upon the like account. Where profit hath prompted, 
no age hath wanted such miners. For which the most bar- 
barous Expilators found the most civil Rhetorick. Gold 
once out of the earth is no more due unto it ; what was un- 
reasonably committed to the ground is reasonably resumed 
from it; let Monuments and rich Fabricks, not Riches adorn 
men's ashes ; the commerce of the living is not to be trans- 
ferred unto the dead: it is not injustice to take that which 
none complains to lose, and no man is wronged where no 
man is possessor. 

What virtue yet sleeps in this terra damnata and aged 
cinders, were petty magick to experiment ; these crumb- 
ling Reliques and long-fired particles superannuate such 
expectations: bones, hairs, nails, and teeth of the dead, were 
the treasures of old Sorcerers. In vain we revive such prac- 
tices ; present superstition too visibly perpetuates the folly of 
our fore-fathers, wherein unto old§ Observation this Island 
was so compleat, that it might have instructed Tersia. 

Tlato's historian of the other world, lies twelve dayes 
incorrupted, while his soul was viewing the large sections 
of the dead. How to keep the corps seven dayes from cor- 

^Lamprid. in vit, Alex- 
and. Severi. 

^Trajanus. Dion. 

\Plut. in vit. Marcelli. 
The Commission of the 
Gothish King Theodoric 
for finding out sepul- 
chral treasure. Cassio- 
dor. Far. 1.4, 

§ Britannia hodie earn 
attonite celebrat tantis 
ceremoniis, ut dedisse 
Persis videri possit. 
Plin. I. 29. 



* To be seen in Licet, de 
reconditis veterum lu- 

^Topographic Roma ex 
Martiano. Erat et vas 
ustrinum appellatum 
quod in eo cadaver a 
comburerentur. Cap. 
de Campo Esquilino. 

ruption by anointing and washing, without exenteration, 
were an hazardable piece of art, in our choisest practice. 
How they made distinct separation of bones and ashes from 
fiery admixture, hath found no historical solution. Though 
they seemed to make a distinct collection, and overlooked 
not Tyrrhus his! toe. Some provision they might make by 
fictile Vessels, Coverings, Tiles, or flat stones, upon and 
about the body. And in the same Field, not far from these 
Urnes, many stones were found under ground, as also by 
careful separation of extraneous matter, composing and 
raking up the burnt bones with forks, observable in that 
notable lump oi Qaluanus (>yi4artianus* who had the sight 
of the Vas Ustrinum,-f or vessel wherein they burnt the 
dead, found in the Esquiline Field at '^^ome, might have 
afforded clearer solution. But their insatisfaction herein be- 
gat that remarkable invention in the Funeral Pyres of some 
Princes, by incombustible sheets made with a texture of As- 
bestos, incremable flax, or Salamanders' wool, which pre- 
served their bones and ashes incommixed. 

How the bulk of a man should sink into so few pounds 
of bones and ashes, may seem strange unto any who con- 
siders not its constitution, and how slender a mass will re- 
main upon an open and urging fire of the carnal composition. 
Even bones themselves reduced into ashes, do abate a nota- 
ble proportion. And consisting much of a volatile salt, when 
that is fired out, make a light kind of cinders. Although 
their bulk be disproportionable to their weight, when the 
heavy principle of Salt is fired out, and the Earth almost 



onely remaineth ; observable in sallow, which makes more 
Ashes than Oake ; and discovers the common fraud of sell- 
ing Ashes by measure, and not by ponderation. 

Some bones make best Skeletons,* some bodies quick and 
speediest ashes : who would expect a quick flame from Hy- 
dropical Heraclitus ? The poisoned Soldier when his Belly 
brake, put out two pyres in Tlutarch.-f But in the plague of 
ay^thenSyX one private pyre served two or three Intruders; 
and the Saracens burnt in large heaps, by the King of Cas- 
tile,^ shewed how little Fuel sufficeth. Though the Funeral 
pyre of Tatroclus took up an hundred foot,]] a piece of an 
old boat burnt Tompey ; And if the burthen of Isaac were 
sufficient for an holocaust, a man may carry his own pyre. 

From animals are drawn good burning lights, and good 
medicines^ against burning; though the seminal humor 
seems of a contrary nature to fire, yet the body compleated 
proves a combustible lump, wherein fire findes flame even 
from bones, and some fuel almost from all parts. Though 
the Metropolis of humidity** seems least disposed unto it, 
which might render the skulls of these Urnes less burned 
then other bones. But all flies or sinks before fire almost in 
all bodies : when the common ligament is dissolved, the 
attenuable parts ascend, the rest subside in coal, calx or 

To bum the bones of the King of Edom-^^ for Lyme, 
seems no irrational ferity; but to drink of the ashes of dead 
relations, j;j; a passionate prodigality. He that hath the ashes 
of his friend, hath an everlasting treasure: where fire taketh 

* Old bones according to 
Lyserus. Those of young 
persons not tall nor fat 
according to Columbus. 

■fin vita. Grace. 

J Thucydides. 

%Laurent. Valla. 

H'EKaro/xirtSov ivBo. 

^Speran. Alb. Ovor. 

^^The brain, Hippo- 

■ffJmos II. I . 

J J^/ Artemisia of her 
Husband Mausolus. 



* Siste viator. 

•\Kirckmannus defuner. 

leave, corruption slowly enters ; in bones well burnt, fire 
makes a wall against it self, experimented in copels, and 
tests of metals, which consist of such ingredients. What the 
Sun compoundeth, fire analyseth, not transmuteth. That 
devouring agent leaves almost alwayes a morsel for the 
Earth, whereof all things are but a colony; and which, if 
time permits, the mother Element will have in their primi- 
tive mass again. 

He that looks for Urnes and old sepulchral Reliques, must 
not seek them in the ruines of Temples, where no Religion 
anciently placed them. These were found in a Field, accord- 
ing to ancient custome, in noble or private burial ; the old 
practice of the CanaaniteSy the Family of oyTbraham, and the 
burying place of Joshua, in the borders of his possessions; 
and also agreeable unto l^omane practice to bury by high- 
wayes, whereby their Monuments were under eye: memo- 
rials of themselves, and mementos of mortality unto living 
passengers ; whom the Epitaphs of great ones were fain to 
beg to stay and look upon them. A language though some- 
times used, not so proper in Church-Inscriptions.* The sen- 
sible Rhetorick of the dead, to exemplarity of good life, first 
admitted the bones of pious men and Martyrs within Church- 
walls ; which in succeeding ages crept into promiscuous 
practice. While Constantine was peculiarly favoured to be 
admitted unto the Church Porch ; and the first thus buried 
in England was in the dayes of Cuthred. 

Christians dispute how their bodies should lye in the 
grave.-f In urnal interment they clearly escaped this Con- 

Urne-Buriall 31 

troversie ; though we decline the Religious consideration, 
yet in cemiterial and narrower burying places, to avoid con- 
fusion and cross position, a certain posture were to be ad- 
mitted ; which even Pagan civility observed. The Persians 
lay North and South, the (JMegarians and Phoenicians placed 
their heads to the East, the oyfthenians, some think, towards 
the West, which Christians still retain. And Beda will have 
it to be the posture of our Saviour. That he was crucified 
with his face towards the West, we will not contend with 
tradition and probable account ; but we applaud not the 
hand of the Painter, in exalting his Cross so high above those 
on either side ; since hereof we finde no authentick account 
in history, and even the crosses found by Helena pretend no 
such distinction from longitude or dimension. 

To be knaved out of our graves, to have our skulls made 
drinking-bowls, and our bones turned into Pipes, to delight 
and sport our Enemies, are Tragical abominations, escaped 
in burning Burials. 

Urnal interments, and burnt Reliques lye not in fear of 
worms, or to be an heritage for Serpents ; in carnal sepul- 
ture, corruptions seem peculiar unto parts, and some speak 
of snakes out of the spinal marrow. But while we suppose 
common wormes in graves, 't is not easie to finde any there ; 
few in Church-yards above a foot deep, fewer or none in 
Churches, though in fresh decayed bodies. Teeth, bones, 
and hair, give the most lasting defiance to corruption. In 
an Hydropical body ten years buried in a Church yard, we 
met with a fat concretion, where the nitre of the Earth, and 



* Of Thomas Marquesse 
of Dorset, whose body 
being buried 1530 was 
1 608, upon the cutting 
open of the Cerecloth, 
found perfect and no- 
thing corrupted, the flesh 
not hardened, but in 
colour, proportion, and 
softnesse like an ordi- 
nary corps newly to be 
interred. Burton'' s de- 
script, of Leicester shire. 

fin his Map of Russia. 

the salt and lixivious liquor of the body, had coagulated 
large lumps of fat into the consistence of the hardest Cas- 
tile-soap; whereof part remaineth with us. After a battle 
with the TersianSy the ^^^omane Corps decayed in few dayes, 
Nvhile the Persian bodies remained dry and uncorrupted. 
Bodies in the same ground do not uniformly dissolve, nor 
bones equally moulder ; whereof in the opprobrious disease 
we expect no long duration. The body of the Marquess 
of ^Dorset seemed sound and handsomely cereclothed, that 
after seventy eight years was found uncorrupted.* Common 
Tombs preserve not beyond powder : a firmer consistence 
and compage of parts might be expected from Arefaction, 
deep burial or Charcoal. The greatest Antiquities of mortal 
bodies may remain in petrified bones, whereof, though we 
take not in the pillar of Lot 's wife, or Metamorphosis of 
Ortelius,-f some may be older than Pyramids, in the petri- 
fied Reliques of the general inundation. When Q^lexander 
opened the Tomb of Cyrus, the remaining bones discovered 
his proportion, whereof urnal fragments afford but a bad 
conjecture, and have this disadvantage of grave interments, 
that they leave us ignorant of most personal discoveries. 
For since bones afford not only rectitude and stability, but 
figure unto the body, it is no impossible Physiognomy to 
conjecture at fleshly appendencies, and after what shape 
the muscles and carnous parts might hang in their full con- 
sistences. A full spread Cariola shows a well-shaped horse 
behinde ; handsome formed skulls give some analogy of 
flesh resemblance. A critical view of bones makes a good 



distinction of sexes. Even colour is not beyond conjecture 
since it is hard to be deceived in the distinction of Negro(e)'s 
skulls. Xante's Characters* are to be found in skulls as 
well as faces. Hercules is not onely known by his foot. Other 
parts make out their comproportions, and inferences upon 
whole, or parts. And since the dimensions of the head meas- 
ure the whole body, and the figure thereof gives conjecture 
of the principal faculties. Physiognomy out-lives our selves, 
and ends not in our graves. 

Severe contemplators observing these lasting reliques, 
may think them good monuments of persons past, little ad- 
vantage to future beings ; and considering that power which 
subdueth all things unto it self, that can resume the scattered 
Atomes,or identifie out of any thing, conceive it superfluous 
to expect a resurrection out of Reliques. But the soul sub- 
sisting, other matter clothed with due accidents may solve 
the individuality : yet the Saints we observe arose from 
graves and monuments, about the holy City. Some think 
the ancient Patriarchs so earnestly desired to lay their bones 
in Canaan, as hoping to make a part of that Resurrection, 
and though thirty miles from Mount Calvary, at least to lie 
in that Region, which should produce the first-fruits of the 
dead. And if according to learned conjecture, the bodies of 
men shall rise where their greatest Reliques remain, many 
are not like to erre in the Topography of their Resurrection, 
though their bones or bodies be after translated by Angels 
into the field of Ezechiel's vision, or as some will order it, 
into the Valley of Judgement, or Jehosaphat.-f 

^The Poet Dante in his 
view of Purgatory, found 
gluttons so meagre, and 
extenuated, that he con- 
ceived them to have been 
in the Siege of Jeru- 
salem, and that it was 
easie to have discovered 
Homo or Omo in their 
faces: M being made 
by the two lines of their 
cheeks, arching over the 
Eye-brows to the nose, 
and their sunk eyes mak- 
ing O O which makes 
up Omo. 
Par en P occhiaje anella 

senza gemme : 
Chi, nel visa degli uom- 

ini legge OMO, 
Bene avria quivi cono- 

sciutoP emme. 

\Tirin. in Ezek. 




^Rituale Gr cecum, 
opera J. Goar in officio 

■\Similis reviviscendi 
fromissa Democrito 
vanitas, qui non revixit 
ipse. Quae, malum, sta 
dimentia est ; iterari 
vitam morte. Plin. I . 
l-(- 55- 

jKai Toya. V (k yai'r/s 
tATTt^o/iev €S 4>do<; 
fX.6tiv Auif/av a-KOiypfi.- 
c»/(i)v et deinceps. 

§ Cedit enim retro de 
terra quod fuit ante 
In Terram, i^c. Lu- 
cre t. 

CHRISTIANS have handsomely glossed the de- 
formity of death, by careful consideration of the 
body, and civil rites which take off brutal termina- 
tions. And though they conceived all reparable by a resur- 
rection, cast not off all care of interment. And since the 
ashes of Sacrifices burnt upon the Altar of God were care- 
fully carried out by the Priests, and deposed in a clean field; 
since they acknowledged their bodies to be the lodging of 
Christ, and temples of the holy Ghost, they devolved not 
all upon the sufficiency of soul existence; and therefore with 
long services and full solemnities concluded their last Exe- 
quies, wherein* to all distinctions the Qreek devotion seems 
most pathetically ceremonious. 

Christian invention hath chiefly driven at Rites which 
speak hopes of another life, and hints of a Resurrection. 
And if the ancient Q-entiles held not the immortality of 
their better part, and some subsistence after death, in sev- 
eral rites, customes, actions and expressions, they contra- 
dicted their own opinions : wherein T)emocritus went high, 
even to the thought of a resurrection,-f as scoffingly re- 
corded by Tliny. What can be more express than the 
expression of Thocyllides^'l Or who would expect from 
Lucretius § a sentence of Ecclesiastes ? Before Tlato could 

Urne-Buriall 35 

speak, the soul had wings in Homer, which fell not, but flew 
out of the body unto the mansions of the dead; who also 
observed that handsome distinction of Demas and Sema, for 
the body conjoyned to the soul and body separated from it. 
Lucian spoke much truth in jest, when he said, that part 
of Hercules which proceeded from d/tlcmena perished, that 
from Jupiter remained immortal. Thus* Socrates was con- ^piato in Phad. 
tent that his friends should bury his body, so they would 
not think they buried Socrates^ and regarding onely his im- 
mortal part, was indifferent to be burnt or buried. From 
such Considerations Diogenes might contemn Sepulture. 
And being satisfied that the soul could not perish, grow 
careless of corporal interment. The Stoicks who thought 
the souls of wise men had their habitation about the Moon, 
might make slight account of subterraneous deposition; 
whereas the Tythagoreans and transcorporating Philoso- 
phers, who were to be often buried, held great care of their 
interment. And the ^latonicks rejected not a due care of the 
grave, though they put their ashes to unreasonable expect- 
ations, in their tedious term of return and long set revolu- 

Men have lost their reason in nothing so much as their 
Religion, wherein stones and clouts make Martyrs; and 
since the Religion of one seems madness unto another, to 
afford an account or rational of old Rites requires no rigid 
Reader; that they kindled the pyre aversely, or turning 
their face from it, was an handsome Symbole of unwilling 
ministration ; that they washed their bones with wine and 

36 Hydriotaphia 

permit tet sequamur. 

milk, that the mother wrapt them in Linnen, and dryed 
them in her bosome, the first fostering part, and place of 
their nourishment; that they opened their eyes towards 
heaven, before they kindled the fire, as the place of their 
hopes or original, were no improper Ceremonies. Their 
^Vaie, vale, vale, nos last valediction * thrice uttered by the attendants was also 
te ordine quo natura y^j-y solemn and somewhat answered by Christians, who 
thought it too little, if they threw not the earth thrice upon 
the interred body. That in strewing their Tombs the 'T^- 
manes affected the Rose, the Qreeks Amaranthus and Myr- 
tle ; that the Funeral pyre consisted of sweet fuel, Cypress, 
Firre, Larix, Yewe, and Trees perpetually verdant, lay 
silent expressions of their surviving hopes : wherein Chris- 
tians which deck their Coffins with Bays have found a more 
elegant Embleme. For that tree seeming dead, will restore 
it self from the root, and its dry and exsuccous leaves re- 
sume their verdure again ; which if we mistake not, we have 
also observed in Furze. Whether the planting of Yewe in 
Church-yards, hold not its original from ancient Funeral 
Rites, or as an Embleme of Resurrection from its perpetual 
verdure, may also admit conjecture. 

They made use of Musick to excite or quiet the affec- 
tions of their friends, according to different harmonies. But 
the secret and symbolical hint was the harmonical nature 
of the soul ; which delivered from the body went again to 
enjoy the primitive harmony of heaven, from whence it first 
descended ; which according to its progresse traced by an- 
tiquity, came down by Cancer^ and ascended by Capricornus. 



* Tu manes ne lade 

They burnt not children before their teeth appeared, as 
apprehending their bodies too tender a morsel for fire, and 
that their gristly bones would scarce leave separable re- 
liques after the pyral combustion. That they kindled not fire 
in their houses for some dayes after, was a strict memorial 
of the late afflicting fire. And mourning without hope, they 
had an happy fraud against excessive lamentation, by a 
common opinion that deep sorrows disturbed their ghosts.* 

That they buried their dead on their backs, or in a su- 
pine position, seems agreeable unto profound sleep, and 
common posture of dying ; contrary to the most natural way 
of birth ; nor unlike our pendulous posture, in the doubtful 
state of the womb. ^Diogenes was singular, who preferred 
a prone situation in the grave, and some Christians -f like -f Russians, iffe. 
neither, who declined the figure of rest, and make choice 
of an erect posture. 

That they carried them out of the world with their feet 
forward, not inconsonant unto reason : as contrary unto the 
native posture of man, and his production first into it. And 
also agreeable unto their opinions, while they bid adieu 
unto the world, not to look again upon it ; whereas c^JMa- 
hometans who think to return to a delightful life again, are 
carried forth v^th their heads forward, and looking towards 
their houses. 

They closed their eyes as parts which first die or first 
discover the sad effects of death. But their iterated clama- 
tions to excitate their dying or dead friends, or revoke them 
unto life again, was a vanity of affection ; as not presum- 

38 Hydriotaphia 

ably ignorant of the critical tests of death, by apposition of 
feathers, glasses, and reflexion of figures, which dead eyes 
represent not, which however not strictly verifiable in fresh 
and warm cadavers, could hardly elude the test in corps of 
four or five dayes. 

That they sucked in the last breath of their expiring 

friends, was surely a practice of no medical institution, but 

a loose opinion that the soul passed out that way, and a 

^Francesco Perucci. fondncsse of affcction from some * Tythagorical foundation, 

Pompefunebrt. ^^^ ^^ Spirit of one body passed into another ; which they 

wished might be their own. 

That they poured oyle upon the pyre, was a tolerable 
practice, while the intention rested in facilitating the accen- 
sion ; but to place good Omens in the quick and speedy 
burning, to sacrifice unto the winds for a dispatch in this 
office, was a low form of superstition. 

The Archimime or Jester attending the Funeral train, 
and imitating the speeches, gesture, and manners of the de- 
ceased, was too light for such solemnities, contradicting 
their funeral Orations, and doleful rites of the grave. 

That they buried a piece of money with them as a Fee of 
the Elysian Ferryman, was a practice full of folly. But the 
ancient custome of placing coynes in considerable Urnes, 
and the present practice of burying medals in the Noble 
Foundations of Europe^ are laudable wayes of historical dis- 
coveries, in actions, persons. Chronologies ; and posterity 
will applaud them. 

We examine not the old laws of Sepulture, exempting 



certain persons from burial or burning. But hereby we ap- 
prehend that these were not the bones of persons Planet- 
struck or burnt with fire from Heaven: no Reliques of 
Traitors to their countrey. Self-killers, or Sacrilegious Male- 
factors; persons in old apprehension unworthy of the earth; 
condemned unto the Tartarus of Hell, and bottomlesse pit 
of Tluto, from whence there was no redemption. 

Nor were onely many customes questionable in order to 
their Obsequies, but also sundry practices, fictions, and 
conceptions, discordant or obscure, of their state and future 
beings ; whether unto eight or ten bodies of men to adde one 
of a woman, as being more inflammable, and unctuously 
constituted for the better pyral combustion, were any ra- 
tional practice: or whether the complaint of Teriander's 
Wife be tolerable, that wanting her funeral burning she suf- 
fered intolerable cold in Hell, according to the constitution 
of the infernal house of Tluto, wherein cold makes a great 
part of their tortures, it cannot passe without some question. 

Why the Female Ghosts appear unto Ulysses, before 
the Heroes and masculine spirits ; why the Pysche or soul 
of Tiresias is of the masculine gender; * who being blinde 
on earth sees more than all the rest in hell; why the Fune- 
ral Suppers consisted of Egges, Beans, Smallage, and Let- 
tuce, since the dead are made to eat Asphodels -f about the 
Elysian meadows ; why, since there is no Sacrifice accept- 
able, nor any propitiation for the Covenant of the grave, 
men set up the Diety of <^JMorta, and fruitlessly adored 
Divinities without ears, it cannot escape some doubt. 

*/« Homer :^vxi] 6r)- 
^aiov TeipecrCao cTKrJTr- 
rpov ex<^v- 

■fin Lucian. 

40 Hydriotalihia 

The dead seem all alive in the humane Hades of Homer, 
yet cannot we speak, prophesie, or know the living, except 
they drink blood, wherein is the life of man. And therefore 
the soules of Penelope's Paramours conducted by <iJMercury 
chirped like bats, and those which followed Hercules made 
a noise but like a flock of birds. 

The departed spirits know things past and to come, yet 
are ignorant of things present. (Agamemnon foretells what 
should happen unto Ulysses, yet ignorantly inquires what is 
to become of his own Son. The ghosts are afraid of swords 
in Homer, yet Syhilla tells Mneas in Virgil, the thin habit 
of spirits was beyond the force of weapons. The spirits put 
off their malice with their bodies, and Casar and Tompey 
accord in Latine Hell, yet oy^jax in Homer endures not a 
conference with Ulysses: and 1)eiphohus appears all man- 
gled in Virgil's Ghosts, yet we meet with perfect shadows 
among the wounded ghosts of Homer. 

Since Charon in Lucian applauds his condition among the 
dead, whether it be handsomely said ofa^chilles, that living 
contemner of death, that he had rather be a plowman's 
servant than Emperour of the dead? How Hercules his 
soul is in hell, and yet in heaven, and Julius his soul in a 
Star, yet seen by JEneas in hell? — except the Ghosts were 
but images and shadows of the soul, received in higher 
mansions, according to the ancient division of body, soul, 
and image or simulacrum of them both. The particulars of 
future beings must needs be dark unto ancient Theories, 
which Christian Philosophy yet determines but in a Cloud 

Urne-Buriall 41 

of Opinions. A Dialogue between two Infants in the womb 
concerning the state of this world, might handsomely illus- 
trate our ignorance of the next, whereof methinks we yet 
discourse in Plato's den, and are but Embryon Philoso- 

Pythagoras escapes in the fabulous hell of T^ante,* among *Z)^/ in/emo. cant. 4. 
that swarm of Philosophers, wherein whilest we meet with 
Tlato and Socrates, Cato is to be found in no lower place 
than Purgatory. Among all the set, Epicurus is most con- 
siderable, whom men make honest without an Elysium,vjho 
contemned life without encouragement of immortality, and 
making nothing after death, yet made nothing of the King 
of terrours. 

Were the happinesse of the next world as closely appre- 
hended as the felicities of this, it were a martyrdome to live; 
and unto such as consider none hereafter, it must be more 
than death to die, which makes us amazed at those audaci- 
ties, that durst be nothing, and return into their Chaos 
again. Certainly such spirits as could contemn death, when 
they expected no better being after, would have scorned to 
live had they known any. And therefore we applaud not 
the judgement of (.JMachiavel, that Christianity makes men 
cowards, or that with the confidence of but half dying, the 
despised virtues of patience and humility have abased the 
spirits of men, which Pagan principles exalted, but rather 
regulated the wildnesse of audacities, in the attempts, 
grounds, and eternal sequels of death, wherein men of the 
boldest spirits are often prodigiously temerarious. Nor can 

42 Hydriotaphia 

we extenuate the valour of ancient Martyrs, who con- 
temned death in the uncomfortable scene of their lives, and 
in their decrepit Martyrdomes did probably lose not many 
moneths of their dayes, or parted with life when it was 
scarce worth the living. For (beside that long time past 
holds no consideration unto a slender time to come) they 
had no small disadvantage from the constitution of old age, 
which naturally makes men fearful ; and complexionally 
superannuated from the bold and courageous thoughts of 
youth and fervent years. But the contempt of death from 
corporal animosity promoteth not our felicity. They may 
sit in the Orchestra, and noblest Seats of Heaven, who have 
held up shaking hands in the fire, and humanely contended 
for glory. 

Mean while Epicurus lies deep in 'Dante's hell, wherein 
we meet with Tombs enclosing souls which denied their 
immortalities. But whether the virtuous heathen, who lived 
better than he spake, or erring in the principles of himself, 
yet lived above Philosophers of more specious Maximes, lie 
so deep as he is placed ; at least so low as not to rise against 
Christians, who, believing or knowing that truth, have last- 
ingly denied it in their practice and conversation, were a 
quagry too sad to insist on. 

But all or most apprehensions rested in Opinions of some 
future being, which, ignorantly or coldly believed, beget 
those perverted Conceptions, Ceremonies, Sayings, which 
Christians pity or laugh at. Happy are they, which live not 
in that disadvantage of time, when men could say little for 

Urne-Buriall 43 

futurity, but from reason. Whereby the noblest mindes 
fell often upon doubtful deaths, and melancholy Dissolu- 
tions ; with these hopes Socrates warmed his doubtful spirits 
against that cold potion, and Cato before he durst give the 
fatal stroke, spent part of the night in reading the immor- 
tality of ^latOy thereby confirming his wavering hand unto 
the animosity of that attempt. 

It is the heaviest stone that melancholy can throw at a 
man, to tell him he is at the end of his nature ; or that there 
is no further state to come, unto which this seems progres- 
sional, and otherwise made in vain; without this accom- 
plishment the natural expectation and desire of such a state 
were but a fallacy in nature ; unsatisfied Considerators 
would quarrel the justice of their constitutions, and rest 
content that oyTdam had fallen lower, whereby by know- 
ing no other Original, and deeper ignorance of themselves, 
they might have enjoyed the happinesse of inferiour Creat- 
ures who in tranquillity possess their constitutions, as hav- 
ing not the apprehension to deplore their own natures ; and 
being framed below the circumference of these hopes, or 
cognition of better being, the wisdom of God hath necessi- 
tated their contentment : but the superiour ingredient and 
obscured part of our selves, whereunto all present felicities 
afford no resting contentment, will be able at last to tell us 
we are more than our present selves, and evacuate such 
hopes in the fruition of their own accomplishments. 




* Tibullus, 

^ Or acuta Chaldaica 
cum scholiis Psehi 
et Phethonis. 
^irj XnrovTdiv cruifia 
tj/v^al KaOapwrarai 
Fi corpus relin- 
quentium anima 
pur ii si ma. 

N^OW since these dead bones have already out- 
lasted the living ones of ^J^^^huselah, and in a 
yard under ground, and thin walls of clay, out 
worn all the strong and specious buildings above it, and 
quietly rested under the drums and tramplings of three 
conquests, what Prince can promise such diuturnity unto 
his Reliques, or might not gladly say. 

Sic ego componi versus in ossa velim* 
Time which antiquates Antiquities, and hath an art to make 
dust of all things, hath yet spared these minor monuments. 
In vain we hope to be known by open and visible conserva- 
tories, when to be unknown was the means of their con- 
tinuation and obscurity their protection ; if they dyed by 
violent hand, and were thrust into their Urnes, these bones 
become considerable, and some old philosophers would 
honour them.-f whose souls they conceived most pure, which 
were thus snatched from their bodies ; and to retain a 
stronger propension unto them : whereas they weariedly 
left a languishing corps, and with faint desires of re-union. 
If they fell by long and aged decay, yet wrapt up in the 
bundle of time, they fell into indistinction, and make but 
one blot with infants. If we begin to die when we live, and 
long life be but a prolongation of death, our life is a sad 



composition ; we live with death, and die not in a moment. 
How many pulses made up the life of (>JMethuselah, were 
work for oyTrchimedes : Common Counters sum up the life 
o^zJMoses his name.* Our dayes become considerable like 
petty sums by minute accumulations ; where numerous frac- 
tions make up but small round numbers ; and our dayes of 
a span long make not one little finger.-f 

If the nearnesse of our last necessity, brought a nearer 
conformity unto it, there were a happinesse in hoary hairs, 
and no calamity in half senses. But the long habit of living 
indisposeth us for dying, when Avarice makes us the sport 
of death, when T)avid grew politickly cruel, and Solomon 
could hardly be said to be the wisest of men. But many are 
too early old, and before the date of age. Adversity stretch- 
eth our dayes, misery makes ci/Ilcmena' s nights,;|; and time 
hath no wings unto it. But the most tedious being is that 
which can unwish it self, content to be nothing, or never 
to have been, which was beyond the mal-content of Johy 
who cursed not the day of his life, but his nativity, content 
to have so far been, as to have a title to future being, 
although he had lived here but in an hidden state of life, 
and as it were an abortion. 

What Song the Syrens sang, or what name (^Achilles as- 
sumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling 
questions, § are not beyond all conjecture. What time the 
persons of these Ossuaries entered the famous Nations of 
the dead, 1 1 and slept with Princes and Counsellors, might 
admit a wide solution. But who were the proprietaries of 

*/« the Psalme of 


^According to the 
ancient Arithmetick 
of the hand wherein 
the little finger of 
the right hand 
contracted, signified 
an hundred. 

Pierus in 

I One night as long as 

%The puzzling ques- 
tions of Tiberius unto 
Grammarians Marcel. 
Donatus in Suet, 



*That the world may 
last but six thousand 

■\ Hectares fame lasting 
above two lives of Me- 
thuselah, before that 
famous Prince was ex- 

these bones, or what bodies these ashes made up, were a 
question above Antiquarism, not to be resolved by man, nor 
easily perhaps by spirits, except we consult the Provincial 
Guardians, or tutelary observators. Had they made as good 
provisions for their names, as they have done for their 
Reliques, they had not so grossly erred in the art of per- 
petuation. But to subsist in bones, and be but Pyramidally 
extant, is a fallacy in duration. Vain ashes, which in the ob- 
livion of names, persons, times, and sexes, have found unto 
themselves a fruitlesse continuation, and onely arise unto 
late posterity, as Emblemes of mortal vanities, antidotes 
against pride, vainglory, and madding vices. Pagan vain- 
glories, which thought the world might last for ever, had 
encouragement for ambition, and finding no <tAtropos unto 
the immortality of their names, were never dampt with the 
necessity of oblivion. Even old ambitions had the advantage 
of ours, in the attempts of their vainglories, who acting 
early, and before the probable Meridian of time, have by 
this time found great accomplishment of their designes, 
whereby the ancient Heroes have already outlasted their 
Monuments and Mechanical preservations. But in this lat- 
ter Scene of time we cannot expect such Mummies unto 
our memories, when ambition may fear the Prophecy of 
Elias* and Charles the first can never hope to live within 
two c>JMethuselah' s of Hector.-f 

And therefore restlesse inquietude for the diuturnity of 
our memories unto present considerations, seemes a vanity 
almost out of date, and superannuated piece of folly. We 



cannot hope to live so long in our names, as some have done 
in their persons ; one face of Janus holds no proportion to 
the other. 'T is too late to be ambitious. The great muta- 
tions of the world are acted, or time may be too short for 
our designes. To extend our memories by Monuments, 
whose death we dayly pray for, and whose duration we can- 
not hope, without injury to our expectations, in the advent 
of the last day, were a contradiction to our beliefs. We 
whose generations are ordained in this setting part of time, 
are providentially taken off from such imaginations. And 
being necessitated to eye the remaining particle of futurity, 
are naturally constituted unto thoughts of the next world, 
and cannot excusably decline the consideration of that dura- 
tion, which maketh Pyramids pillars of snow, and all that 's 
past a moment. 

Circles and right lines limit and close all bodies, and the 
mortal right-lined-circle * must conclude and shut up all. 
There is no antidote against the Opium of time, which tem- 
porally considereth all things ; our fathers finde their graves 
in our short memories, and sadly tell how we may be buried 
in our Survivors. Grave-stones tell truth scarce fourty 
years : -f Generations passe while some trees stand, and old 
Families last not three Oakes. To be read by bare inscrip- 
tions like many in Qruter,X to hope for Eternity by Enig- 
matical Epithetes, or first letters of our names, to be studied 
by Antiquaries, who we were, and have new Names given 
us like many of the Mummies, are cold consolations unto 
the Students of perpetuity, even by everlasting Languages. 

* The character of 

•}■ Old ones being taken 
up, and other bodies laid 
under them. 

\ Gr uteri Inscriptiones 



* Cuperem not urn esse 
quod sim, non opto ut 
sciatur qua lis sim. — 
Card, in vita propria. 

To be content that times to come should onely know 
there was such a man, not caring whether they knew more 
of him, was a frigid ambition in Cardan,* disparaging his 
horoscopal incHnation and judgement of himself, who cares 
to subsist like Hippocrates' Patients, or <^chilles' horses in 
Hom^r, under naked nominations, without deserts and noble 
acts, which are the balsame of our memories, the Entelechia 
and soul of our subsistencies. To be namelesse in worthy 
deeds exceeds an infamous history. The Canaanitish woman 
lives more happily without a name, than Herodias with one. 
And who had not rather have been the good thief, then 

But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, 
and deals with the memory of men without distinction to 
merit of perpetuity. Who can but pity the founder of the 
Pyramids ? Herostratus lives that burnt the Temple of *P/- 
ana, he is almost lost that built it; time hath spared the 
Epitaph of oy^drian's horse, confounded that of himselfe. 
In vain we compute our felicities by the advantage of our 
good names, since bad have equal durations; and Ther- 
sites is like to live as long as ^ylgamemnon. Without the 
favour of the everlasting Register, who knows whether 
the best of men be known ? or whether there be not more 
remarkable persons forgot, then any that stand remembred 
in the known account of time? the first man had been as 
unknown as the last, and aJMethuselah's long life had been 
his only Chronicle. 

Oblivion is not to be hired : the greater part must be con- 

Urne-Buriall 49 

tent to be as though they had not been, to be found in the 
register of God, not in the record of man. Twenty seven 
names make up the first story, and the recorded names ever 
since contain not one hving Century. The number of the 
dead long exceedeth all that shall live. The night of time 
far surpasseth the day, and who knows when was the Equi- 
nox ? Every houre addes unto that current Arithmetique, 
which scarce stands one moment. And since death must be 
the Lucina of life, and even Pagans could doubt whether 
thus to live were to die ; since our longest Sun sets at right 
descensions, and makes but winter arches, and therefore it 
cannot be long before we lie down in darknesse, and have 
our light in ashes ; since the brother of death daily haunts us 
with dying mementos, and time that grows old it self, bids 
us hope no long duration; diuturnity is a dream and folly 
of expectation. 

Darknesse and light divide the course of time, and ob- 
livion shares with memory a great part even of our living 
being; we slightly remember our felicities, and the smartest 
strokes of affliction leave but short smart upon us. Sense 
endureth no extremities, and sorrows destroy us or them- 
selves. To weep into stones are fables. Afflictions induce 
callosities, miseries are slippery, or fall like snow upon us, 
which notwithstanding is no stupidity. To be ignorant of 
evils to come, and forgetful of evils past, is merciful pro- 
vision in nature, whereby we digest the mixture of our few 
and evil dayes, and our delivered senses not relapsing into 
cutting remembrances, our sorrows are not kept raw by 



* Omnia vanitas et 
pastio venti, vo/xtj 
avefiov Koi fiocrK-qaL^, 
ut olim Aquila et Sym- 
machus. V. Drus. 

the edge of repetitions. A great part of Antiquity contented 
their hopes of subsistency with a transmigration of their 
souls. A good way to continue their memories, while hav- 
ing the advantage of plural successions, they could not but 
act something remarkable in such variety of beings, and 
enjoying the fame of their passed selves, make accumula- 
tion of glory unto their last durations. Others rather than 
be lost in the uncomfortable night of nothing, were content 
to recede into the common being, and make one particle 
of the publick soul of all things, which was no more then 
to return into their unknown and divine Original again. 
/Egyptian ingenuity was more unsatisfied, contriving their 
bodies in sweet consistencies, to attend the return of their 
souls. But all was vanity,* feeding the winde, and folly. 
The JEgyptian Mummies, which Camhyses or time hath 
spared, avarice now consumeth. Mummie is become Mer- 
chandise, dSMizraim cures wounds, and Pharaoh is sold for 

In vain do individuals hope for immortality, or any patent 
from oblivion, in preservations below the moon : men have 
been deceived even in their flatteries above the Sun, and 
studied conceits to perpetuate their names in heaven. The 
various Cosmography of that part hath already varied the 
names of contrived constellations ; l^^rod is lost in Orion, 
and Osyris in the Dogge-star. While we look for incorrup- 
tion in the heavens, we finde they are but like the Earth, 
durable in their main bodies, alterable in their parts; where- 
of beside Comets and new Stars, perspectives begin to tell 

Urne-Buriall 51 

tales. And the spots that wander about the Sun, with Phae- 
ton's favour, would make clear conviction. 

There is nothing strictly immortal, but immortality; 
whatever hath no beginning may be confident of no end. 
All others have a dependent being, and within the reach of 
destruction, which is the peculiar of that necessary essence 
that cannot destroy it self; and the highest strain of omnipo- 
tency to be so powerfully constituted, as not to suffer even 
from the power of it self. But the sufficiency of Christian 
immortality frustrates all earthly glory, and the quality of 
either state after death makes a folly of posthumous mem- 
ory. God who can onely destroy our souls, and hath assured 
our resurrection, either of our bodies or names hath directly 
promised no duration. Wherein there is so much of chance 
that the boldest expectants have found unhappy frustra- 
tion; and to hold long subsistence, seems but a scape in 
oblivion. But man is a noble Animal, splendid in ashes, and 
pompous in the grave, solemnizing Nativities and Deaths 
with equal lustre, nor omitting Ceremonies of bravery, in 
the infamy of his nature. 

Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within 
us. A small fire sufficeth for life, great flames seemed too 
little after death, while men vainly affected precious pyres, 
and burn like SardanapaluSy but the wisdom of funeral Laws 
found the folly of prodigal blazes, and reduced undoing 
fires, unto the rule of sober obsequies, wherein few could be 
so mean as not to provide wood, pitch, a mourner, and an 

52 Hydriotaphia 

Five Languages secured not the Epitaph of Q-ordianus ; 
the man of God hves longer without a Tomb then any by 
one, invisibly interred by Angels, and adjudged to obscur- 
ity, though not without some marks directing humane dis- 
covery. Enoch and Elias without either tomb or burial, in 
an anomalous state of being, are the great examples of per- 
petuity, in their long and living memory; in strict account 
being still on this side death, and having a late part yet to 
act upon this stay of earth. If in the decretory term of the 
world we shall not all die but be changed, according to 
received translation, the last day will make but few graves ; 
at least quick Resurrections will anticipate lasting Sepult- 
ures ; some graves will be opened before they are quite 
closed, and Lazarus be no wonder. When many that feared 
to die shall groan that they can die but once, the dismal 
state is the second and living death, when life puts despair 
on the damned, when men shall wish the coverings of 
Mountains, not of Monuments, and annihilation shall be 

While some have studied Monuments, others have stu- 
diously declined them : and some have been so vainly bois- 
terous, that they durst not acknowledge their Graves; 
^jornandes de rebus wherein (i/[laricus sccms most subtle,* who had a River 
turned to hide his bones at the bottome. Even Sylla that 
thought himself safe in his Urne, could not prevent reveng- 
ing tongues, and stones thrown at his Monument. Happy 
are they whom privacy makes innocent, who deal so with 

Get ids. 

Urne-Buriall 53 

men in this world, that they are not afraid to meet them in 
the next, who, when they die, make no commotion among 
the dead, and are not toucht with that poetical taunt of 
Isaiah * */f^. xiv, 1 6, eu. 

Pyramids, Arches, Obelisks, were but the irregularities 
of vainglory, and wilde enormities of ancient magnanimity. 
But the most magnanimous resolution rests in the Christian 
Religion, which trampleth upon pride, and sits on the neck 
of ambition, humbly pursuing that infallible perpetuity, 
unto which all others must diminish their diameters and be 
poorly seen in Angles of contingency.-f ^Anguiuscontingentia, 

Pious spirits who passe their dayes in raptures of futurity, ^^"'^ of Angles. 
made little more of this world, then the world that was be- 
fore it, while they lay obscure in the Chaos of preordination, 
and night of their fore-beings. And if any have been so 
happy as truely to understand Christian annihilation, extasis, 
exolution, liquefaction, transformation, the kisse of the 
Spouse, gustation of God, and ingression into the divine 
shadow, they have already had an handsome anticipation of 
heaven; the glory of the world is surely over, and the earth 
in ashes unto them. 

To subsist in lasting Monuments, to live in their pro- 
ductions, to exist in their names, and prasdicament of 
Chymasras, was large satisfaction unto old expectations 
and made one part of their Elysiums. But all this is nothing 
in the Metaphysicks of true belief. To live indeed is to 
be again our selves, which being not onely an hope but 



an evidence in noble believers, 't is all one to lie in St. 
"^in Paris where bodies Innocetits* CHurcH-yard, as in the Sands of /Egypt : ready 
to be any thing, in the extasie of being ever, and as content 
with six foot as the Moles of d/^drianus.-f 

soon consume. 

^ A stately Mausoleum 
or sepulchral pyle built 
by Adrian us in Rome, 
where now standeth the 
Castle of St. Angelo. 

— Tabesne cadavera solvat 
(i/in rogus hand refert. — 


Three hundred and eighty-jive copies printed at the Riverside 
Press for Houghton, Miffiin ^Company, Boston and New York. 

JVo. 3io-l 







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